Book group questions

The Family I Lost

composite image showing the author, a woman in a read top sitting by a garden table, holding up a copy of the book The Family I Lost, which has two girls standing back-to-back but with linked hands in shallow water, alongside three more pictures: the book cover next to a sprig of flowers and some tea, next to a cake and some tea, and the cover of another novel, A Child's Goodbye, which shows a woman embracing a boy in front of a lake at sunset, with a sprig of red flowers beside itHere are some book group discussion questions for my novel The Family I Lost.

1. Do you think Amy is a bad mother? Does she have any redeeming qualities? Why do you think she behaves the way she does towards Tilly?

2. Is it reckless of Lisa to take up the opportunity to get closer to Amy and Amy’s children? Why do you think she does it?

3. There are a lot of secrets in The Family I Lost. How do these affect Amy and Lisa and their relationships with other people?

4. What do you think Amy and Lisa are looking for, or missing? Is this the same as what they need? What are the biggest threats they face, and how do they overcome them?

5. Could The Family I Lost be described as a ghost story? How important are past events in Lisa and Amy’s present?

A Child’s Goodbye

Image shows the cover of the book A Child's Goodbye, which shows a woman hugging a boy standing on a walkway in front of a lake at sunset. Next to the book is a black and white photograph of a woman holding a young boy's hand. The book and the photograph are resting on a soft knitted blanket or shawl.
1. Sadness. Are there any novels or films that have made you cry? What was it about them that had that effect? If you found A Child’s Goodbye touching, what was it that moved you?

2. Childhood. What are the things that make Billy’s childhood happy? What does he find hard?

3. Family. Which characters do you think have the strongest relationship? What are some of the factors that make different family relationships and friendships difficult in the novel?

4. Accidents. Reuben says to Janice, ‘Accidents aren’t always disasters.’ Is Callie’s accident at the beginning a blessing in disguise?

5. Characters. Do you feel sympathy for any of the characters? If so, why?

6. Recovery. ‘The body doesn’t forget, even if sometimes the mind wills it to.’ (Reuben thinks this.) How do the characters deal with trauma? Does keeping secrets help or hinder them?

7. Love. What do the characters learn about love? Are you left with hope for them?